How Did I Not Know That Teenage Bottlerocket Wrote a Song about Minecraft?

Teenage Bottlerocket - They Call Me Steve

In September of 2012, aging punk rockers NoFX were set to perform at a venue called the Cabooze in Minneapolis. The lineup was going to be NoFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Arms Aloft, and our hometown heroes Dillinger Four. That show didn’t end up happening. I never found out for sure why that show was cancelled, but that cancellation led to one of the more interesting nights of that year.

Two of the bands from that night, Teenage Bottlerocket and Arms Aloft, managed to score a last-minute gig at the Triple Rock Social Club (NoFX wrote a song about this venue called “Seeing Triple at the Triple Rock,” and Motion City Soundtrack references it in the song “Better Open the Door”). When I say “last-minute” I really do mean it; if memory serves, this show was announced at around 4 p.m. on the day it happened. Because the venue already had another show that night, the TB/AA show wouldn’t start until midnight. So fans were given maybe 8 hours of notice.

Sadly, the Triple Rock has since closed, but in 2012, I was spending a decent amount of time there. So when I got a Facebook notification that said Teenage Bottlerocket would be doing a midnight show at the Triple Rock, I decided to go check it out. I’d been listening to the band on and off since they first formed back in 2000 (in fact, I was made aware of Teenage Bottlerocket because they absorbed a member of the Lillingtons, which is a band I was into back in the 1990s).

So I ended up at a Teenage Bottlerocket show at the Triple Rock, which I think might have actually sold out (though I’m not completely sure).

When Arms Aloft was getting ready, I noticed a girl in the very front of the crowd who must have barely been five feet tall and couldn’t have weighed much more than 90 pounds. Having been to plenty of punk rock shows in my day, I made a mental note of this, because I was nervous she was going to get hurt once the crowd started getting rowdy. And, as a midnight show at the Triple Rock, it was guaranteed to get rowdy.

However, I kid you not, the second the music started, she turned around and started punching dudes in the face while grinning like a maniac. At that point, I realized that this girl could take care of herself and I could stop worrying about her and just enjoy the show. In fact, if anyone was in danger at that point, it was me.

Teenage Bottlerocket - They Call Me Steve

At the end of the show, as the crowd was clearing out, there was one particularly drunk fellow who decided he was going to take the band’s departure as an opportunity to crowdsurf. The problem was that by this point, there wasn’t really a crowd to speak of (most of the people at the show were pushing their way out the door). Regardless, this guy climbed onto the stage and jumped off of it, into a group of maybe four or five people, who thankfully realized what was happening quickly enough to move out of the way. There was a small table, which by that point was accumulating discarded beer glasses, and this guy landed on top of this table. The thing flipped over with a crashing sound, as perhaps a dozen beer glasses shattered to the floor. When the drunk guy stood up, he had blood pouring down his face. He just shrugged while his friends escorted him out of there as quickly as they could.

These are the particular sort of experiences that you’d go to the Triple Rock for back when it was still open. (I also saw someone chuck a knife at the band AJJ during a set at the Triple Rock, but that’s perhaps a story for another time.)

I ended up seeing Teenage Bottlerocket one or two more times (it seemed like they were perpetually on tour back then), but I kind of fell off after that. I haven’t kept current on their discography (which is becoming quite extensive by this point).

So you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a song they had written called “They Call Me Steve,” which comes from the 2015 release Tales from Wyoming and is about Minecraft.

The song is classic Teenage Bottlerocket, with Ramones-style driving barre chords and confident-yet-deliberately-cheesy lyrics. The opening line is, “I knocked down a tree with my bare hands.” You’d be hard-pressed to call this high art, but the melody is catchy as hell and the harmonies in the chorus are absolutely great.

Well, I don’t need to describe the song. Here’s the music video so you can listen to it for yourself:

I’ve played no small amount of Minecraft, and I have a soft spot for music videos that incorporate footage from the game. So you’d think that I would have been aware of a Minecraft song that comes from a band I’ve seen live at least twice (I think I saw them three times, but I can’t recall for sure — I was going to shows several times a week in 2012 and 2013 and I was drinking a lot back then, so my memory is pretty foggy when it comes to those years).

When I pressed play on the YouTube video for the very first time, memories came flooding back — of a 90-lb. girl punching people in the face, of a drunk guy rising like a phoenix from a pile of beer-soaked broken glass, slick with blood but smiling. I think that was probably one of the greatest nights of 2012 for me.

So while I missed out on “They Call Me Steve” when it first debuted, it was a nice thing to stumble into during a late-night bout with insomnia in 2021. Keep on rocking, Teenage Bottlerocket.

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